Oregon Lawmakers Try To Resurrect Columbia River Crossing Plan

Feb 13, 2014


Oregon lawmakers heard testimony Wednesday on the latest version of a plan to fund a new Interstate 5 bridge across the Columbia River.

The hearing even drew testimony from lawmakers on the Washington side of the river.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber says if the Legislature doesn't act by mid-March, he'll pull the plug on the project for the foreseeable future.

Some lawmakers have balked at the latest proposal, which has Oregon taking the lead on the $2.9 billion project. They've said they won't act until their counterparts in Olympia agree to fund a portion.

Washington state Rep. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, came to Salem to offer her support for Oregon taking the lead. She says her caucus just wants the bridge built.

"Columbia River Crossing will not only replace unsafe and inadequate infrastructure," said Cleveland. "I believe it will also quicken our economic recovery in areas that have been very hard hit by this Great Recession."

But one of Cleveland's fellow Olympia colleagues disagreed. Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, testified that her caucus won't support any plan that gives Oregon more control of the project.

The Washington Senate last year failed to approve money for a jointly-funded I-5 bridge.